Among a list of priorities for newcomers, finding a stable job to support their family is at the top, and because of this, some have high expectations of getting a professional job within the first month. Unfortunately, many find fulfilling this desire more challenging than expected. Luckily, there is hope for those who do not give up!
We often serve newcomers at OFE and are familiar with some of the challenges they face while looking for work. This is why we strive to help them more easily make the transition to the Canadian workforce by informing them about the different factors they must consider before applying for their first job.
In this post, we will focus on three key ideas: managing your expectations, getting to know Canadian workplace culture, and improving communication.
Manage your expectations
A lack of connections and networking skills can prolong the job search process process, especially when looking for professional jobs. A useful tip for newcomers is to manage your expectations and not assume you will get your dream job in the first six months. A more realistic approach is to establish short-term and long-term career goals. For example, it can be strategic to apply for entry-level jobs or positions not directly related to your dream job in the short-term, while you plan, build up your network, and prepare for the next career move.
Once employed, continue to use this strategy to remain flexible, because your experience in the new workplace may be different from what you were used to in your previous job.
Know the workplace culture
It is important that newcomers are aware of the cultural values and expectations common to Canadian employers. In addition to having a combination of relevant skills and technical expertise, you must also understand the cultural norms that impact how a candidate and an employer make a match.
It is said that a positive attitude, good punctuality and a smile on your face go a long way for making a good first impression. However, there is more a job applicant must do to secure employment that some newcomers may not be familiar with.
Canadian culture is considered “individualistic”, which means Canadians value independence, self-reliance and initiative, as opposed to “collectivist” cultures where people tend to be more modest about their achievements. In Canada, you are expected to promote yourself and present your skills and achievements as selling points. Hiring decisions and promotions depend on what employees have achieved or can achieve. To stand out from the crowd, it is necessary for job seekers to emphasize their unique ability to solve the problems an employer needs solved.
Improve your communication
A requirement for nearly every job is to have good communication skills. This is more than just being able to speak English. It means using the English you know effectively. In addition to learning vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, you also need to become familiar with patterns of communication that can be unique to Canada.
In addition to understanding others and being understood, communication also requires good listening skills and proper use of body language. Active listening is essential when approaching employers, superiors and colleagues. Being articulate is helpful, but if you are a poor listener, your eloquence will not make up for it. So remember to work on your listening skills!
When speaking, be specific and concise and avoid giving unnecessary information. Make sure your message is clear and free of uncommon words. Be mindful of how much emotion you put into your voice when you speak, especially when you are disagreeing with something.
Follow these tips and you will get your first job in no time! Remember that getting a job is only the first step. Keeping it is just as important. Become an observer and learn from the people around you. Be adaptable and never stop trying to improve.